“Samuraization,” solo performer and spoken word poet Pandora Scooter
aims to take on nothing less than the meaning of death, and how it is
perceived in Japanese culture -- in a funny way, no less. This is a tall
order, and she takes a circuitous and unfocused route getting to her
points on these big concepts.
Playing a scene
recalling how as a precocious seventh-grader inspired by intense
Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, she re-enacted a Samurai’s ritual suicide
(seppuku) for a mime exercise, Scooter scores with the absurdity of such
a dark act being depicted alongside classmates who mimed making
peanut-butter sandwiches and other such innocuous everyday acts.
The comedy of this
scene turns out to be a highlight of her one-hour-plus show, as some
feints at making mistakes in her presentation turn out to be unwanted
and unnecessary distractions. Asking her audiences to take part in
playing funeral, after noting this is the one subject never seen when
children play pretend, comes off more like an artistic experiment from
inside Scooter’s head that never quite jells or resonates -- being very
dependent on how an audience will react.
But another bit of
interactivity that does work in this show, though, is when Scooter
immerses herself in the character of a grandmother dispensing advice to
“confront your death” and declaring each subject “fixed” once they’ve
done so. This could easily be expanded as a recurring character.
Pandora Scooter has
comedic acting talent which comes through in some of the segments in
this show, but would benefit from collaboration to focus and clarify the
themes she’s exploring.
runs 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through April 15 at Salon
Bodegon, 169 W. Main St., Rahway, N.J.